Tim Driscoll’s Barhopping: Saúde, Brasil!

  • Caipirinha cocktail at Hotel Northampton —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A Caipirinha Cocktail at Hotel Northampton’s Coolidge Café GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Caipirinha cocktail at Hotel Northampton —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

Published: 8/25/2016 1:47:22 PM

Looking like we just walked off the movie set of “Men In Black,” Chris, Mike and I entered the Coolidge Café bar at the Hotel Northampton. We were wearing black suits, white shirts and ties, and we only lacked the sunglasses and flashing-light gizmo to complete the ensemble.

Eric was behind the bar and working his first shift at the café. He’s no rookie, though; he’s bartended in New York City and works a couple shifts at the Student Prince in Springfield, as well.

Maybe it was the suits, or it might have been the relaxed, yet sophisticated ambience of the Hotel Northampton, but we all decided to order cocktails.

Mike got an Absolut & Tonic with lime; Chris had the tasty Hendricks Elderflower Mojito; and I, with the Rio Olympics still fresh in my mind, ordered a Caipirinha (pronounced kai-pee-reen-ya), the national cocktail of Brazil.

The drink features cachaca (pronounced ka-shah-suh), a rumlike spirit made from sugarcane juice that’s wildly popular in Brazil (1.5 billion liters of cachaca are consumed annually in the country).

For those who want a comparison, I’d say it’s very much like a Daiquiri in taste, with its muddled lime and the sugarcane rum.

I was introduced to cachaca and the Caipirinha Cocktail in 1985 when I was in Rio de Janeiro to attend the first “Rock In Rio Festival.” While there, I met up with an old friend, John O’Donnell, a Northampton native, who suggested I try the drink.

John had moved to Rio to teach English, and was quite a success. What started out in the mid-1960s as a single classroom with a few students subsequently grew into the Brasas English Course, with programs across Brazil.

So, saúde (cheers) to my old friend, to Rio de Janeiro and, what the heck, to the “Men in Black.”

Tim Driscoll is a bartender, a former bar owner and a perpetual student of mixology.

How to make a Caipirinha Cocktail

Serves 1

Quarter and juice a fresh lime

Muddle the juice together with ½ ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

Stir in 2 ounces Pitu Cachaca

Pour over ice cubes in a double old-fashioned glass


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